French meringue macaron recipe

Hello!

Here is my recipe for French meringue macarons. It's been a love hate relationship with these french meringue macarons - me loving the macarons, but the macarons hating me! I started making Italian meringue macarons which worked wonderfully. However, there is all that effort of making the sugar syrup so I decided to go back to the French method and make it work for me, which I did :-). Other people I know have had success with my recipe so if you give it a go, I'd love to hear how it went for you!

The ingredients

(makes approximately 30 3.5 cm shells)

You will need:

- 70 g ground almonds

- 60 g icing sugar

- 52 g egg whites (aged for at least 24 hours)

- 52 g caster sugar

- 1/8 tsp gel or powder food colouring

- 1 tsp cornflour

*The addition of cornflour will depend on how humid it is and whether your icing sugar contains any cornflour to begin with. The addition of cornflour seems to stabilise the meringue and decreases the likelihood of the macarons becoming hollow.

The ingredients
The recipe

- Preheat the oven to 150C (fan ovens tend to run 20 C hotter than the temperature dial, so preheat to 130 C. Refer to an oven thermometer and adjust to the correct temperature). These macarons really hate temperatures lower than 150C – if your oven temperature fluctuates it’s better to go slightly higher so the temperature doesn’t dip below 150C

- Grind up the almonds almonds further in a food processor with the icing sugar and cornflour

Grind the ground almonds, icing sugar and cornflour together in a food processor

- Next, using an electric whisk or a standalone whisk, beat your egg whites on a low speed until frothy (a stainless steel bowl should be used for this) and slowly add in the caster sugar. Slow and steady to start with, the success of the French method largely depends on the quality of the meringue. Once all the sugar has been incorporated gradually increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form. By which time the meringue should be thick and glossy. Then beat in the food colouring

To make the French meringue, whip the egg whites and sugar to stiff peaks then add the food colouring

- The next stage is the macaronage - the folding in of the almonds/icing sugar into the meringue. This is probably the most important part of making macarons and probably the easiest thing to get wrong. You want to knock out some, but not all, of the air out of the meringue. Overmix and the macarons will be difficult to pipe, will spread in the oven and won't rise. Undermix and the tops of the macarons won't be nice and smooth, and they'll rise to much and be chubby little things.

- It takes a while to get used to what the right consistency should be, there is a definite element of trial and error. It's aways better to err on the side of caution and undermix rather than over mix. 

- Add in half of the almond/icing sugar/cornflour mixture and fold in, then fold in the other half, scrape your spatula round the side of the bowl to deflate the meringue. The mixture is the correct consistency when it falls off of the spatula in a thick ribbon and when it falls back on itself you should be able to see the outline fade into the rest of the mixture after about 10 seconds. For anyone who has gone from using the Italian to the French method, the consistency of the mixture is thicker for the French method.

Fold the almond mixture into the French meringue until the mixture falls of the spatula in a thick ribbon

- Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a 1 cm nozzle and pipe out onto trays lined with baking paper or a silicon baking mat

- Give each of the trays a firm tap on the counter top, this will flatten the peaks and bring any air bubbles to the surface. Break these air bubbles with a tooth pick. As the tops of the shells dry quite quickly, try to pop the air bubbles asap to avoid leaving indents on the top of the shells.

- Leave the macarons to rest until they are dry to the touch. With this recipe it usually takes about 15 minutes to dry, 30 minutes max. If they aren't dry within this time, the mixture has probably been overmixed or it is a really humid day.

- Bake at 150C for about 20-30 minutes - baking time can vary depending on the how much water is in the egg whites. I usually wait until I can smell the macarons cooking before opening the door of the oven. When the macarons are cooked on parchment paper they should be easily removed from the baking tray and if you break one open, the interior shouldn’t be wet. It's a little more difficult to tell if they're cooked on silicon mats because you have to wait for the macarons to cool slightly before peeling them off. 

Pipe the macarons and bake at 150 C until the interior of the macaron is no longer wet

- Once the macaorns have cooled they may feel disconcertingly crunchy, but don't worry, the shells will absorb the mixture from the filling and the insides will become lovely and soft

Now go forth and make french meringue macarons - good luck! :-)